Issue #53

Spring 2015

The Clocks

by Jonathan Levy

There is no sound where we live but the ticking of the clocks. No wind whistles. No wood creaks in its old age. No crickets rub their wings. Only silence. And the clocks.

The clocks line the walls and stick to the ceiling. They hide behind cupboards. They tick from underneath the floor.

They count seconds, roughly. But each clock counts at a slightly different rate. The difference within each second is like a snapshot within Eternity. But, still, it exists.

In the beginning, the clocks said as one: TICK.

Since then, each clock has followed its own path in Time, counting the seconds, roughly.

Some of us believe there is one clock that counts in perfect seconds. Those who believe seek the Clock — they dig up the floor, reach for the ceiling, shut their eyes and listen, trying to isolate the one perfect clock. But no one finds it.

For the rest of us, we wait. It began with the Second Tick, when the difference was imperceptible but there. Then the separation grew. It was a process that cannot be described by length of time — it does not take time, it is Time. Time became infinite ticks within each second, a sound like unending fireworks. Eventually, the ticks drew nearer to each other, to the point when they seemed like one again. But we knew it was not so. We could feel the imperfection. The ticks separated once again. Then drew nearer. And so on.

Mathematics tells us there will come a moment when all the clocks tick together as one again. That is why we wait. We do not know when it will happen. We do not know if we will still be around. But we hope.

When the moment comes, the sound of the Tick will resonate — a perfect circle of Time, a beginning, middle, and end. Then silence will follow. Pure silence, unadulterated by the ticking of the clocks. And we will all smile. Just for a second.

Author Bio

Machine 5

Jonathan Levy lives in Raleigh, NC, with his wife and two dogs. He started writing fiction about a year ago, and so far the staff and readers of Boston Literary Magazine, Pure Slush, Tell Us a Story, r.kv.r.y. quarterly, and Paper Tape have made him feel so grateful and lucky.